Seaweed Derivative Product Development in Fiji

Seaweed is a plant found along many coasts, on reefs and in deep waters and extensively used for food by coastal people. While seaweed has some benefits for the environment, particularly the coral coast area, they can also be used to produce various products and foods. In fact, a growth market in most developing countries, seaweed and its derivatives account for more than US$ 6 billion of trade a year. Its product versatility ranges from food additives to personal care products (such as cosmetics) to pharmaceuticals.

Fiji is home to a total of five (5) species of seaweed, and most coastal communities do not have the knowledge or skills to create products from the seaweed. This is evident from the resources which lie in idle abundance all across the country.

In an effort to utilize the abundant seaweed in the country and in continuation of the ongoing seaweed training consultations with the Indonesian Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, the Government of the Republic of Indonesia in joint collaboration with the Ministry of Women, Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation, the Ministry of Fisheries and Forest as well as the Ministry of Youth and Sports acquired the services of three (3) Indonesian Experts to facilitate an International Training on Small Medium Enterprise Sector on Seaweed Derivative Product Development for Fiji from 18 – 26 September 2012 at Mau village, Namosi.  

The training catered to 32 participants from the mentioned ministries as well as villagers from Mau and Veivatuloa. Through this training, the participants experienced how to make derivative products from seaweed, such as sausage, jam, juice, noodles, tomato sauces and syrup. They have also experienced new seaweed farming technology that is applicable in Indonesia and now, in Fiji. Furthermore, in this package training, the Indonesian experts have also included the marketing aspects such as labeling, packaging, pricing and even distribution.

The Embassy hopes that this training is one of the solutions to increasing food production in Fiji, without negatively harming the environment, and at the same time addressing the challenge of climate change and poverty alleviation. The Embassy also believes that through this training, participants are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to think creatively and become economically active citizens by establishing home businesses. It is expected that through the training, all participants will have the opportunity to learn the effective methods of developing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as well as micro businesses through seaweed derivative production to further contribute to the sustainable economic development in Fiji.

Furthermore, the Embassy hopes that there will be opportunities to promote more capacity development in the villages as well as further strengthening the cooperation between Indonesia – Fiji.